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This document provides clarity on terms in the standard and their meanings. It also helps artists understand the motivation behind the standard.


In the standard, the most important definition is visual work. It means the selection and arrangement of essential visual elements in a medium to be viewed or experienced–images that have been captured or created.


Visual elements in art can be combined and layered to create movies or special effects. Humans are considered essential creators of visual work when they select and arrange visual elements. However, if a machine does it, then it becomes the essential creator.


We fully support visual artists who use AI in ways not covered by the standard or who find it challenging to agree to it for various reasons.


For instance, some artists use AI to create intentional combinations of images that form innovative visual work. These artists may not find the VerifiedHuman™ label helpful or suitable. However, they can use it for more traditional work, like photographs, paintings, or architectural drawings.


In this way, we hope to be helpful and encouraging to all visual artists.


We would like to address two common scenarios in this foreword.


i. AI Assistance in Editing Images or Restoring Damaged or Missing Portions

Many people use AI for image editing, including color correction, filters, and image restoration. The VerifiedHuman Standard allows AI for these purposes and generative AI to create distinct visual elements like patterns and textures, provided the final result is essentially distinctive from any individually generated part (see The Capture or Arrangement of Elements Principle below). When generative AI heavily influences visual work, we suggest using the VerifiedHuman label with the AIA (AI-Assisted) tag: VerifiedHuman AIA. We leave it to the creator's discretion when the tag is helpful.


ii. Using Content of Unknown Origin in Visual Work

At times, visual artists incorporate elements with uncertain origins, possibly AI-generated, in their work. To address this uncertainty, we recommend using the VerifiedHuman label with an AIU (AI-Unknown) tag: VerifiedHumanAIU. This allows artists to clarify when AI involvement is unclear. The VerifiedHuman Standard helps distinguish between human and AI creation, aligning with artists' intentions to present their work as their own.


The VerifiedHuman Standard clarifies authorship by asking: "Was it created by you or by AI?" We appeal to the artist's intention to ensure they present their visual work as their own.


Here are definitions of words and ideas used in the Standard for Visual Artists.


A specific definition of human behavior


Visual Artist

The creator of visual work


Present, share, or show work with others

Visual work

The selection and arrangement of essential visual elements in a medium to be viewed or experienced–images that have been captured or created



A group of people working together

Intellectual property

A work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc.***


The fundamental elements or characteristics of something

Essentially created

​When a visual artist captures or arranges essential visual elements in a meaningful way to create visual work (see Essential Creation below)

Essential visual elements

Lines, shapes, tones, colors, patterns, textures, and forms; can also include light, space, angle, and composition



Noun: a human person; adjective: from a human person

Generative AI

Shorter definition–machines that create novel (new) content | Longer definition–generative artificial intelligence (AI) describes algorithms (such as ChatGPT) that can be used to create new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos.****

Machine learning

"Systems that act like humans"*

Other generative processes

Other processes involving AI or machine learning to create novel (new) content


Here are definitions of other words and ideas related to the Standard for Visual Artists.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

A field that combines computer science and robust datasets to enable problem-solving. It also encompasses machine learning and deep learning sub-fields, frequently mentioned in conjunction with artificial intelligence. These disciplines are comprised of AI algorithms that seek to create expert systems that make predictions or classifications based on input data.*


​AI language modeling (or Large Language Modeling (LLM))

Systems that can use natural language text from large amounts of data. Large language models use deep neural networks, such as transformers, to learn from billions or trillions of words and to produce texts on any topic or domain. Large language models can also perform various natural language tasks, such as classification, summarization, translation, generation, and dialogue. Some examples of large language models are GPT-3, BERT, XLNet, and EleutherAI.** LLMs can translate language or text into visual images and vice versa.


Color image processing

Colors in an image are processed digitally as information



A part or piece of a larger work, like an object or layer


Image acquisition

When an image is captured using a camera or scanner and made digital


Image compression and decompression

When the size and resolution of an image are changed


Image enhancement

Improving the quality of an image by adjusting color and contrast, reducing noise, extracting hidden details, etc.


Image restoration

When an image is cleaned up by removing blurring, noise, distortion, and other unwanted artifacts



Way of understanding or explaining the meaning of something


Morphological processing

When the features and structures of an image's objects are described and processed as words


Personal, original idea

An idea representing a specific human being's unique insight or experience in the world


Photographer, filmmaker, videographer

A person who uses a camera to capture a visual image


Representation and show

Representing an image in a way that can be analyzed by a computer, like numbers or words that have been assigned to specific objects and features of the image



Principles or standards of behavior


Relating to principles, values, or ethical assumptions that motivate human behavior​



*IBM: What is artificial intelligence (AI)?

***Oxford Languages

****McKinsey & Co. | What is generative AI?

Here are the commonly accepted ways AI is widely used in visual arts.


Computer-aided design (CAD) enables users to draw, paint, measure, and choose colors, textures, shapes, and objects. A standard set of tools is used.

Image editing, where AI is used to enhance or edit images. Common editing functions include changing size, shape, color, lighting, and more. A standard set of tools is used.

Image restoration, where AI is used to fill in missing or damaged portions of images. This method is widely accepted.


Here are two questions that AI-using artists must independently interpret, guided by their personal values.

Q: What if I take an existing image and apply a style, like making it look like Vincent Van Gogh painted it?

Applying styles in image creation/editing is a gray area. Styles are often linked to their original creators (especially publicly available software styles) and are influenced by their unique visual sensibilities.

Q: What if I have AI and AI image generators (like Jasper, MidJourney, or Stable Diffusion) create images for me, and I rework the essential elements into my version?

Some people use visual modeling with AI to jumpstart ideas, where AI generates initial models or drafts that they later personalize or contextualize.

While utilizing approaches like the examples above is becoming more common, we recommend caution. The danger in both cases is that it becomes difficult to draw the line between a person’s creative work and the AI’s.

*IBM: What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
**Microsoft | Learn | LLM


​If you copy and paste visual elements that were not created by you, you are not the creator of that content. Instead, you are using visual work that was created by someone or something else. In general, if AI generates the essential elements of an object or layer and arranges them, then AI is considered the creator of that component. The core of the principle remains in the question, "Did you create it, or did AI create it?" regardless of the number of elements, layers, or components involved.


Visual artists, designers, drafters, photographers, and filmmakers use various elements like subjects, backgrounds, colors, textures, and light to create or capture visual images. These images can be viewed as physical objects or digital images or transferred to other mediums like paper.


Whenever we view a visual work, the question that arises is: Who or what is responsible for putting together these visual elements? This question applies to both the entirety of a visual work and its individual components.



The essential unit of visual creation is an element, and when combined, they form visual images.

These resulting images can be viewed in different ways, including three-dimensional objects, digital images, posters, or photographs.



If a human uses elements to create visual images that can be viewed meaningfully, that person is the essential creator.

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